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I sat with a friend recently talking about life, family, work, fun,…just things in general.  There wasn’t much spark coming back from across the table.  He looked and sounded tired.  But it wasn’t just physical exhaustion.  It was deeper.  It was life exhaustion.  I felt for him.   I’ve been there.  I’ll bet you’ve been there too.   There are times when our weariness is more than just lack of sleep.  Sometimes it’s the accumulation of too much, too often, for too long.

As we talked about his life he reluctantly opened up the journey he was under in the last few years.  His family was twisting and evolving.  He had great kids but things were going in directions over which he felt no control.  Teenagers and young adults don’t usually want their dad’s direction or correction!  They’ll take your approval, but not your disapproval.  Marriage doesn’t look or feel like it did 25 years ago when he said “I do”.   The job situation was full of tensions as he managed major demands with limited resources and declining results.  He didn’t think his job was on the line but he worried that his boss would bring some heat on him if things didn’t change in his work place.

I think the kicker question for me was “what are you doing for fun?”  His eyebrows shot up like I had asked him the stupidest question in the world.  There was no fun going on in his life, and no room for fun.  Don’t be silly.  I don’t have time for fun.

Here’s my thinking. I know God gave us wisdom for life and called it “sabbath”.   It is supposed to be one day a week when we are supposed to be able to step back from the matters that occupy our lives and minds and simply NOT think about them or be bound by them.  Very few of us get a good experience of Sabbath for a number of reasons.  Sometimes it’s hard to unhook from the life stresses that fill our lives.  Sometimes it’s because if we do get a sabbath we fill it up with other stressful things.

I often say to people “it sounds like you have a size 12 foot but you are trying to fit into your size 10 shoes”.    You can do it but boy it hurts to walk in them.

I can’t solve your shoe problems, but I wonder if I could suggest a momentary relief?   Any chance you can get a moment away from it all?  When I was in college I remember having overloaded my life badly.  I am prone to do that.  One day I awakened with dread realizing I had crushed my own spirit by allowing too many things onto my plate.  So, I cut all classes that day and drove to a nearby city for the day.  I ate lunch at an eatery and not the cafeteria.  I did a little personal shopping.  I went to a movie in the afternoon and returned to my residence that evening feeling remarkably different.  Yes, I put myself behind the academic 8 ball, but it was worth it.

Can you get a “mental health day?”

Or, here’s another suggestion.  Can you “go run an errand”?  Does your situation allow that?  Whether you say to a coworker, or to a boss, or to a friend whose help you need in covering off your duties, “I need to run an errand”. Can you take 30 minutes to go to a local coffee shop and sit down, by yourself, and drink a cup of coffee, quietly?

Can you get a “moment away”?  It’ll be worth it.

What do you do to renew?